The fascinating story of Reynolds Stone, one of the most distinguished wood engravers of the 20th century, comes to life in a memoir by his son.
Humphrey Stone will be talking about his long overdue account of his father’s work at BridLit on Thursday 7 November at the Bull Ballroom at 11.30am.
Stone, who died in 1979, spent his childhood in Bridport and lived in Litton Cheney from 1953 until his death.
He was a champion of the Renaissance in good printing and type design, an accomplished watercolour painter and letter cutter in stone. Remarkably, he was a self-taught wood engraver.
His legacy endures in much that remains familiar, including postage stamps, £5 and £10 notes and the coat of arms on a British passport.
According to Wikipedia, Stone’s output was considerable. Nearly all of his contemporaries would have seen his work, although few knew his name. A common sight in most high streets was the logo that he designed for Dolcis and which featured on the frontage of all their shoe shops.
In 1949 he redesigned the famous clock logo of The Times.
He engraved the Royal Arms for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953 and the official coat of arms for Her Majesty’s Stationery Officer in 1955, which is still reproduced today on the cover of the UK passport.
He also designed the coat of arms for the British Council. He designed a number of postage stamps, starting with the 1946 Victory stamp, and designed the £5 and £10 bank notes respectively in 1963 and 1964 – including the Queen’s portrait – for the Bank of England.
Stone is perhaps best known for his lettering and in 1939 he began to teach himself to cut letters in stone. His expertise in lettering led to a number of prestigious commissions for memorials.
In 1952 he carved the memorial to employees of the museum who died in World War II in the Grand Entrance of the Victoria and Albert Museum. This memorial complements the Eric Gill memorial to employees who died in World War I.
In 1965 he carved the memorial to Winston Churchill and the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in Westminster.
In 1966 he carved the memorial for T S Eliot in the abbey. One of his latest works, in 1977, was the gravestone of composer Benjamin Britten..